“Being wrapped all day in the kind of energy that made people open to me like flowers in the rain.”
What a lovely thing to be, what a lovely gift to give people--this kind of energy that makes people feel comfortable enough to share themselves with you.
All of my life, I have struggled with this gift. It is a gift from God, nothing that I've cultivated or would even know how to develop. On the one hand I have enjoyed this closeness with others, delighted in it, reveled in it, when it has been with someone with whom I've wanted to be intimate. On the other hand, sometimes it is time-consuming or awkward or (to my embarrassment) even irritating when I am in a hurry and someone I barely know opens up to me and share deeply personal "stories of their lives", their deep feelings.
This gift is what led me to go to graduate school to become a counselor. I never finished, though, instead leaving school without doing a practicum and finishing my masters in another field, because I found it too draining to relate to people on that level all day long. I am very introverted, and although I care deeply for others, I need a great deal of time alone to process and recharge in order to be able to interact at that level. I also am not a particularly patient person, not a good thing for a counselor.
Lately over the last several years as I've experienced time as being scarce much of the time, it has been harder and harder to be welcoming when some people open up. People I meet casually, chance encounters that won't be repeated, people that I'd not choose to be intimate with. I usually still do listen and witness their story (trying to be "nice"), but find myself thinking thoughts like, "I can't believe this is happening to me again..." and "They're going to share their whole life story with me now right when I'm on my way to..." Complaining thoughts, I've realized. From the resentment I feel. This is not who I want to be.
In pondering Kelly's post, I've realized that deep down inside, I believe--I know--that every single person is indeed a flower, and that one of the most important things I can do each and every day is to witness their opening. To be present with everyone I meet. If they feel safe with me (and they are safe), then this is a bold, brave gift that I'm being given, and I want to recognize it as such. I need to slow down and stay in touch with what I truly value rather than be distracted by the urgency of comparatively petty tasks.
I always learn so much from Kelly, and this was a special lesson, one I really needed today.
~Photograph by LoveHubbie Mark